Twenty-one preterm and 23 term neonates, 13 splenectomized children and one with congenital asplenia, and 20 normal children were examined for plasma antihaemophilic activity and for blood leucocyte levels before and 30 minutes after a subcutaneous injection of epinephrine 0-01 mg/kg. The basal values for antihaemophilic activity were similar for the 4 groups. The response to epinephrine was a trivial rise in antihaemophilic activity in the preterm group, while the rise in the term newborns was comparable to that of the normal children. The asplenic children all showed a trivial rise. The leucocyte response was also negligible in both the preterm neonates and asplenic groups, while in the term infants it was comparable to that seen in the normal children. These results may indicate an incapacity of the preterm newborn infant's reticuloendothelial system and spleen to react to other challenges, such as bacterial infection.
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